Diplomats from Iran, Russia, Turkey meet United Nations envoy on Syria

Pentagon ‘routinely’ briefs Trump on ‘military options’ in case of chemical attack in Syria

"As the Russian strikes have intensified over the past 10 days, there's been a major displacement from southern Idlib and northern Hama (province) toward the Syrian-Turkish border".

At a meeting in Tehran on Friday, the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey failed to agree on a cease-fire to halt the violence.

An influx of displaced people has roughly doubled the Idlib region's population to around 2.9 million people in recent years.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called on Russian Federation and Iran to halt a looming "humanitarian disaster" in Idlib, saying Syrians there could not be left to the mercy of President Bashar al-Assad.

United Nations regional coordinator for Syria Panos Moumtzis on Tuesday voiced concern over an uptick in air strikes and shelling that has sent more than 30,000 people fleeing, mainly to locations within the contested province of Idlib.

"The new policy is we're no longer pulling out by the end of the year", Jeffrey said, according to the Washington Post.

"They also include people from other parts of Syria who were transferred to Idlib, people from Homs, Aleppo, who were transferred to this province, bussed there, in evacuation deals", she said.

A top United Nations official warned Monday that an attack on rebel-held parts in Syria's Idlib in coming months could lead to this century's worst loss of life as government forces pounded the area from the air and ground.

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"A major item on the summit's agenda was discussion of efforts to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons. That's something we're monitoring very closely", said David Swanson of the UN's humanitarian coordination agency (OCHA) in Amman.

Syrian forces, backed by Russian Federation and Iran, have been massing for weeks around Idlib's borders where the last bastion of Islamist-dominated rebel groups is seeking refuge and the final obstacle for Assad to declare victory.

The Assad regime has twice been targeted by USA air and missile strikes after previous alleged chemical attacks, and U.S. officials have in recent days said additional action would follow if Assad were to use the banned weapons in rebel-held Idlib.

Erdogan called for a "truce", while Russia's president said Damascus "has a right and must eventually take under control all of its national territory".

U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura began two days of talks in Geneva on Monday with senior officials from Russia, Iran and Turkey on forming a Constitutional Committee in Syria, but which were expected to be overshadowed by the Idlib crisis. This prompted the clashes, which lasted no more than 20 minutes, Sheikmos said. The OCHA chief, Mark Lowcock, warned that this risked provoking the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st Century.

Since 2015, Idlib has been home to a complex array of anti-regime forces: secular rebels, Islamists, Syrian jihadists with ties to Al-Qaeda - and their foreign counterparts.

Turkey, which has recently sent reinforcements to its borders to prevent the influx of more refugees, now hosts more than three million Syrians.

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